Sins of commission

Kooyong and Chisholm legal challenge latest; by-election rumblings in Isaacs; Jim Molan strikes back; and the Victorian Liberals gearing up already for federal preselections.

Possible (or possibly not) federal by-election news:

• The Australian Electoral Commission has petitioned the Federal Court to reject challenges against the federal election results in Chisholm and Kooyong. The challenges relate to Chinese-language Liberal Party signage that appeared to mimic the AEC’s branding, and advised voters that giving a first preference to the Liberal candidates was “the correct voting method”. As reported by The Guardian, the AEC argues that “the petition fails to set out at all, let alone with sufficient particularity, any facts or matters on the basis of which it might be concluded that it was likely that on polling day, electors able to read Chinese characters, upon seeing and reading the corflute, cast their vote in a manner different from what they had previously intended”. This seems rather puzzling to my mind, unless it should be taken to mean that no individuals have been identified who are ready to confirm that they were indeed so deceived. Academic electoral law expert Graeme Orr argued on Twitter that the AEC had “no need to intervene on the substance of a case where partisan litigants are well represented”.

• Talk of a by-election elsewhere in Melbourne was stimulated by Monday’s column ($) from acerbic Financial Review columnist Joe Aston, which related “positively feverish speculation” that Labor’s Shadow Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, would shortly quit his Melbourne bayside seat of Isaacs with an eye to a position on Victoria’s Court of Appeal. Aston further reported that Dreyfus hoped to be succeeded by Fiona McLeod, the prominent barrister who gained a 6.1% swing as Labor’s candidate for Higgins in May. Dreyfus emphatically rejected such “ridiculous suggestions” in late August, saying he was “absolutely committed to serving out this term of parliament”, and again took to Twitter on Monday to say he would be “staying and fighting the next election”. Aston remains unconvinced, writing in Tuesday’s column ($) that the suggestions derived from “high-level discussions Dreyfus has held on Spring Street with everyone from Premier Daniel Andrews, former Attorney-General Martin Pakula, his successor Jill Hennessy and his caucus colleagues”, along with his “indiscreet utterances around the traps”.

Federal preselection news:

• Jim Molan has won the endorsement of both Scott Morrison and the conservative faction of the New South Wales Liberal Party to fill the Senate vacancy created by Arthur Sinodinos’s departure to become ambassador to the United States. However, the Sydney Morning Herald reports this is not dissuading rival nominee Richard Shields, former deputy state party director and Insurance Council of Australia manager, and the runner-up to Dave Sharma in last year’s keenly fought Wentworth preselection. Shields’ backers are said to include Helen Coonan, former Senator and Howard government minister, and Mark Neeham, a former state party director. Earlier reports suggested the moderate faction had been reconciled to Molan’s ascendancy by a pledge that he would only serve out the remainder of Sinodinos’s two-year term, and would not seek re-election in 2022.

Rob Harris of The Age reports the Victorian Liberals are considering a plan to complete their preselections for the 2022 election much earlier than usual – and especially soon for Liberal-held seats. The idea in the latter case is for challengers to incumbents to declare their hands by January 15, with the matter to be wrapped up by late February or early March. This comes after the party’s administrative committee warded off threats to members ahead of the last election, most notably factional conservative Kevin Andrews in Menzies, by rubber-stamping the preselections of all incumbents, much to the displeasure of party members. Other preselections are to be held from April through to October. Also proposed is a toughening of candidate vetting procedures, after no fewer than seven candidates in Labor-held seats were disendorsed during the period of the campaign.

Self-promotion corner:

• I had a paywalled piece in Crikey yesterday which noted the stances adopted of late by James McGrath, ideological warror extraordinaire and scourge of the cockatoo, in his capacity as chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, which is presently conducting its broad-ranging inquiry into the May federal election. These include the end of proportional representation in the Senate, the notion that parliamentarians who quit their parties should be required to forfeit their seats, and — more plausibly — the need to curtail pre-poll voting.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,821 comments on “Sins of commission”

  1. Mexicanbeemer @ #189 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 12:58 pm

    Morrison’s shallow thinking is on full display with his response to the Turkish/Kurd situation, yesterday he was happy to back Trump, today he is said to be worried for the Kurds.

    Is that really so different from anyone else in politics? How many were saying yesterday that climate change is a serious issue, yet today are happy to throw their support behind the coal mining industry? Hell, you can find plenty of people who won’t even bother to wait a day between taking up those two positions.

    Politics is often about saying one thing and then doing the opposite. “We’re shouldn’t cook the planet but oh well it’s too late to do anything about it now so hooray for coal!”. Etc..

  2. guytaur @ #200 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 2:10 pm

    Rex

    Fitzgibbon will lose.

    The members will not vote for him. It’s not like it used to be. The right actually has to persuade not steamroll. That’s if it gets to that point.

    The members didn’t vote for Bill Shorten either, yet he won anyway.

    All the current momentum seems to be with Fitzgibbon. Self-interest from the Queensland based mp’s will see them fall in behind Fitzgibbon for a start.

  3. a.r.
    True all politicians do it too some extent but Trump seems to take it too the extreme but then his base seems too like those big statements.

  4. Guytaur,

    I don’t like getting involved in internecine bickering, but in this case I feel compelled to speak in C@t’s defence. I don’t recall her ‘telling’ anyone to stop discussing any issue. I do recall her asking – rather politely, I thought – for a pause. To quote;

    “Can we please, please, please talk about something other than Climate Change policy!?! Just for one day!?!”

    And I for one thought she had a point.

  5. Rex Douglassays:
    Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    This leadership conflict is coming to a head quite quickly.

    Only in Rexworld!

    A place no rational person would wish to venture.

  6. Are you still logged in? It’s a Word Press thing. Sometimes it just logs you out for no good reason and you only realise when your posts go poof!

    Ahhhh! That is it C@t. I did have to log back in. And I thought is was WB annoyed at my digs at the AEC.

    I cant tell you how great and unmatched was the wisdom in my posts. The ether knows.

  7. Trump from day one has been prone to making big statements only to then slowly walk them back or slowly walk away from it.

    ● The attack on the Russian airbase in Syria (Russians given 24 hours warning);

    ● Debacle of threat, retreat and failure of negotiations on North Korea;

    ● Iran posturing and threats;

    ● Musings on invading Venezuela that came to nothing;

    ● Slagging off long-standing European allies;

    ● Threats against Turkey.

    ● Trade sanctions against China.

    All form a pattern of aiding Russia.

  8. Rex

    I disagree. I don’t think the majority of Labor MP’s will back Fitzgibbon.

    Labor is already suffering from trying to appease the Fitzgibbon faction.
    Combined with members vote Fitzgibbon loses. It’s persuade politics now. Not steamroll because you can assert you have the numbers.

    That’s the fundamental difference Rudd’s reform on leadership has brought about. It’s a vital difference that stops the RGR wars from repeating

  9. Fitzgibbon is just trying to find someone to blame for his crap campaign. 14pts off his primary can not be blamed on a HQ inconsistent message on coal alone. Especially as there was no immediate threat to coal in his region (in fact, many have pointed out Adani opening up would be bad for the Hunter).

    This is sour grapes from a bad apple.

  10. At #icac a bottle of Grange makes another appearance – this time its Jamie Clements talking about drinking some with Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo & MP Ernest Wong. “Doesn’t recall” if they talked about donations or Chinese Friends of Labor fundraiser at the heart of inquiry— Sarah Gerathy (@sarahgerathy) October 10, 2019

    You couldn’t make this up…

  11. AM

    It was a shut up post. How dare you talk about non approved Labor issues.

    Always in support of the serial repeaters talking points being brought in when an actual discussion breaks out.

  12. That voters will “not vote for a divided party” is as dead as a dodo as a political axiom………….
    How much more the Liberals could have been divided with the fall of Turnbull would be hard to guess. On top of this the Conservatives in the UK are about as divided as a political party can be but the polls still suggest a Conservative government when the next election takes place.
    A more relevant question for the voter seems to be ……. “Of the current political parties, which are all “divided”, which one should I go for to feel ‘safe’?”…….43% in Oz went for the LNP a few months ago and some 30% odd seem to think Conservative soon.
    The Labor party here and the Labour one in the UK are really no more ‘divided’ than most political parties. They are just out of office.
    Currently such are the times that Trump, Bojo and Morrison are seen as ‘safe’ options for some of the electorate. That many may think they are wrong is the purpose of opposition and it is the errors of the party in office which should cop the flack. It is for this reason the LNP are always on the attack against Labor (and the Greens) as they cannot afford too close a scrutiny of the many policies which they have which are next-to useless.

  13. Guytaur has a point because many ALP MP’s would know that Joel suffered a large swing which should tell them he has a few issues to deal with before becoming leader. The reason why that is important is because Joel being pro-coal didn’t stop that swing from happening so it raises the question of his ability to connect to his electorate.

  14. Eddy Jokovich @EddyJokovich
    ·
    19m
    $500,000 for Scott Camm to promote apprenticeships? No wonder the government wants to keep this “commercial in confidence”.

  15. Joel being pro-coal didn’t stop that swing from happening so it raises the question of his ability to connect to his electorate.

    …and/or the question of whether going pro-coal is really the electoral panacea Labor seems to think it is.

    Time will tell.

  16. Guytaur,

    I didn’t read it that way. I read it as a despairing cry from someone who was bored witless with the same ground being gone over and over relentlessly day after day for endless weeks. But maybe that’s just me.

  17. Don’t mention the War!

    The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, knocked back a request for the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank, Guy Debelle, to address a meeting of state treasurers on climate change.

    The Queensland treasurer, Jackie Trad, wrote to Frydenberg in June asking for Debelle to talk to treasurers at the October meeting of the council of federal financial relations in Canberra on Friday about how climate change could affect monetary policy, inflation and economic growth.

    Trad’s request was part of a push for a new “clean economy agreement” that would commit Australian governments to act together to meet targets set under the Paris climate agreement.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/oct/10/josh-frydenberg-refuses-request-for-rba-deputy-to-speak-on-climate-change?CMP=share_btn_tw

  18. Simon Katich @ #209 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 2:20 pm

    Fitzgibbon is just trying to find someone to blame for his crap campaign. 14pts off his primary can not be blamed on a HQ inconsistent message on coal alone. Especially as there was no immediate threat to coal in his region (in fact, many have pointed out Adani opening up would be bad for the Hunter).

    This is sour grapes from a bad apple.

    Fitzgibbon is acting through self-interest to save his backside. He wants as much policy influence as possible to assuage his own constituents. The leadership gives him that power.

    He realises his time is now or never. Nervous Queensland mp’s and the backing of the CFMMEU gives him a good chance of wresting the leadership from Albanese.

  19. @CarolKirkby1
    ·
    44m

    @SenatorCash @ScottyCam9 and @ScottMorrisonMP
    Out from behind the white-board & here you go again with your shameless deception. Talking to a Tafe teacher a few weeks ago. He was horrified about the way your Government have reduced the Tafe system to an all time low. Cuts, lack of teachers & many workshops closed.

  20. a.r
    I think being pro or anti coal is unimportant as it misses two points.

    1) Providing people with reliable and cheap energy
    2) Well paying jobs and the health of rural and regional communities

    If the ALP can find answers to those questions then being pro or anti coal becomes unimportant as renewables and reliable grid will solve the first question then its a matter of working out how to answer the second question.

  21. What is not needed are hoards of our soon to be unemployed young folk attending university and obtaining useless degrees.

    What is really required is for our talented and willing 15 year olds to leave school and attend the now privatised tradie courses available.

    Yes, my son and daughter you could have your very own SUV while those left leaning smarties are still studying for those degrees.

    http://www.aeufederal.org.au/news-media/media-releases/2019/june/130619

    Jun 13, 2019 – Australia’s TAFE system faces a dismal future if the years of neglect, underfunding and privatisation by federal Coalition governments continues …

    “TAFE has served faithfully for decades, having provided vocational education for millions of Australian plumbers, nurses, child care staff and other workers. However, under the Morrison Government the very future of TAFE itself is under threat,” Mr Mulheron said.

    “Despite the clear and undisputed benefits that a robustly funded and administered public TAFE and vocational education sector provides our economy and our society, there has been a concerted and continual drive from successive Coalition governments to marginalise vocational education and deprioritise TAFE.”

    Prize winning bastardy afoot here me hearties. Let’s here it for the benefits of Newstart.

    I guess this is a sort of rant. Were all of our so called leaders bullied at school ❓ If so – they’re certainly getting their revenge.

  22. I suspect many people are not pro coal and more likely ambivalent about coal, possibly a little confused about mixed messages. However, I am pretty certain a strong majority would not support an anti-establishment raft of plans outlined by the XR movement.

  23. C@tmomma @ #188 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 1:57 pm

    Not everyone can afford to own an Eco Resort and spend day after day on PB crapping on about the minutiae of the Climate Change issue.

    But those of us who canshould.

    However – I have to make one small correction to your nasty little post: I don’t think anyone who has actually seen our place would ever call it a “resort” 🙂

  24. AM

    Talking about how symbolic of understanding and accepting the science about coal is now not an approved Labor talking point on this blog.

    You must be Green or for the LNP now is the repeat cycle shut down debate on the issue.

    Cat needs to call that out and the discussion will naturally evolve.

  25. “Labor wins when we stake out the political centre for ourselves, on our terms with conviction and purpose – and with policies that create opportunity, build social mobility, share prosperity, care for the vulnerable and deliver reward for effort. ”
    _____
    That absolutely nails it GG.
    And as for Fitzgibbon – he wouldn’t be worth a spit as a leader!

  26. And another thing.

    Yesterday I watched (SBS World Movies) The Lunchbox.*

    Not a single gunshot. No high speed car chases or crashes. Not a machine gun in sight. What were they thinking ❓

    I gave it five stars and an Elephant stamp with Swords and Diamonds.

    🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🐘⚔💎

    *Lonely housewife Ila (Nimrat Kaur) decides to try adding some spice to her stale marriage by preparing a special lunch for her neglectful husband. Unfortunately, the delivery goes astray and winds up in the hands of Saajan (Irrfan Khan), an irritable widower. Curious about her husband’s lack of response, Ila adds a note to the next day’s lunchbox, and thus begins an unusual friendship in which Saajan and Ila can talk about their joys and sorrows without ever meeting in person.

  27. Mexicanbeemer @ #221 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 2:32 pm

    a.r
    I think being pro or anti coal is unimportant as it misses two points.

    1) Providing people with reliable and cheap energy
    2) Well paying jobs and the health of rural and regional communities

    If the ALP can find answers to those questions then being pro or anti coal becomes unimportant as renewables and reliable grid will solve the first question then its a matter of working out how to answer the second question.

    It sounds like you are firmly aligned with the Joel/Coal faction. The problems is that Labor won’t be electable while such a an easily exploitable divide exists between the Left and the Right.

  28. Fitz as leader… god help us. These are Peter Dutton levels of self-delusion. Labor needs to start imposing some minimal intellectual standards on who it runs for office. This has gotten beyond a joke. If giving him a chance to humiliate himself as leader is what it takes to flush this turd then it might even be worth it.

  29. Davidwh @ #224 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 2:36 pm

    I suspect many people are not pro coal and more likely ambivalent about coal, possibly a little confused about mixed messages. However, I am pretty certain a strong majority would not support an anti-establishment raft of plans outlined by the XR movement.

    Do they have a “raft of plans”. On their web site I can find only three …

    The Government will declare a climate and ecological emergency, specify a 2025 target date and will establish a Citizens’ Assembly to determine the wide-ranging policy changes needed.

    They actually refer to this as their “Three Demands” bill.

    Am I missing something?

  30. Watermelon @ #233 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 2:47 pm

    Fitz as leader… god help us. These are Peter Dutton levels of self-delusion. Labor needs to start imposing some minimal intellectual standards on who it runs for office. This has gotten beyond a joke. If giving him a chance to humiliate himself as leader is what it takes to flush this turd then it might even be worth it.

    Perhaps the ‘lefty’ Kim Carr will put up his hand to be Joels deputy.

    What a dream team that would be…

  31. Nobody can take seriously a challenge to the leadership by an MP who loses 14pts off his primary at an election. One must question his elect-ability credentials as many already have questioned his decisions wrt chinese businesswomen.

  32. I’d rather RDN to pick up the phone to Peter Garrett.

    You keep mentioning this. Is there any indication PG has any interest in such a thing?
    A mate saw him at the Big Red Bash. Said he was awesome and he looked pretty happy with his lot.

  33. There was a time when public utilities such as Victoria’s SEC took on apprentices as part of their brief to act in the public interest. Now it appears we have a shortage of tradies, for some strange reason.

  34. It sounds like you are firmly aligned with the Joel/Coal faction.

    I don’t know if I’d go that far. But it is odd that neither “sustainable” nor “renewable” were awarded the same primacy as “cheap” and “reliable”. The environmental aspect should have at least equal standing with the cost/relaibility ones.

  35. Simon Katich @ #238 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 2:52 pm

    Nobody can take seriously a challenge to the leadership by an MP who loses 14pts off his primary at an election. One must question his elect-ability credentials as many already have questioned his decisions wrt chinese businesswomen.

    He’ll use the loss of his PV as a primary argument to ‘change direction’. The Qld based mp’s will lap it up.

  36. I doubt Fitzy is spruiking for Leadership. Just laying out the fact that Labor have to stop talking down to working people and their families and focus on issues of importance to them. That’s how Labor can win Government.

    So, Labor needs to change the paradigm and get back to the sensible centre. I’m guessing the self appointed “progressives” of PB will have plenty to whine about as their sacred cow issues are slaughtered before their very eyes.

  37. They’ll get sick of the sandflies soon enough.

    F yeah.
    Always said that NZ would be perfect if it werent for all the New Zealanders and the midges.

  38. Player One
    No way could you reach that conclusion from what i wrote particularly as i did say renewables were part of the answer to question one.

    General comment
    I sometimes wonder if people actually read full sentences or just look for buzzwords.

  39. Greensborough Growler @ #217 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 2:28 pm

    I agree with Richard Marles:

    “Labor wins when we stake out the political centre for ourselves, on our terms with conviction and purpose – and with policies that create opportunity, build social mobility, share prosperity, care for the vulnerable and deliver reward for effort. ”

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/clumsy-adani-arguments-left-labor-voters-feeling-abandoned-richard-marles-20191009-p52z73.html

    Definitely a future leader.

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